A COMMUNITY-conscious hero has made and eye-catching shopping innovation that is helping Wokingham families in need during the pandemic.
Louise Jedras, community champion at the Finchampstead Road Tesco store, is a strong supporter of the town’s food bank, which provides a wide array of life’s essentials to families who are struggling.
However, Louise saw that while numerous Wokingham people were keen to donate items to the food bank, they were often the same sort of items, leaving people in need short of other essentials.
So after discussions with customers and the food bank, she came up with the idea of putting labels on shelves next to items that were needed by families that week.
This resulted in the right items going to the foodbank at the right time, with many more people in need able to access anything from food to cleaning products to toiletries.
Louise said: “I look after the store’s food bank collection point. We’re very proactive at the store and our customers are always very generous.
“We did have a donation poster on the food bank collection point, but a customer pointed out that the poster would be better at the beginning of the shop because when people finish their shop it’s too late for them to get something to donate.
“So I did as they suggested, but we got so many tins of beans that it was overflowing, rather than having a spread of items that were needed by the food bank.
“I then used to stand outside the store with the list of items that were wanted, but obviously I couldn’t do this during lockdown, so I thought it would be helpful to start putting labels next to items that were needed by the food bank.
“I regularly look in the food bank collection point and the labelling idea is working.
“We’re getting lots of the right items for local people in need. People have really got behind this, and on social media lots of customers are saying what a great idea it is.”
Louise’s idea has really taken off, with many people on Twitter pointing out “the genius” of her idea’s simplicity.
Annette Medhurst, manager of the Wokingham food bank, agreed: “Louise’s idea has been really excellent for us. She did a trial run asking people for shaving foam, and suddenly we got lots of Tesco brand shaving foam, so we knew that Louise’s system worked.
“Wokingham people are very responsive to our cause, but there’s a natural tendency for them to give what they think people need rather than what they actually need. Louise’s labelling takes the guesswork out of this.
“There’s now a visible prompt in the aisles, and the people who come to us are very happy to see there’s a cross-section of things they actually need. We’re all really grateful to Louise and Tesco shoppers for their help during these challenging times.”